Denmark: Exploration of urban human-avian entanglement, Copenhagen

The Danish Nest explores the entanglement and encounters between humans and birds in the city. It is our hope that we, by looking at how humans and birds co-exist, can contribute to a reconsideration of the value of birds in the city and how a city might be designed to  better accommodate both human and avian needs.

We focus on spaces, movements, and territories, how to increase sensitivity, and how to understand bird perceptions and patterns. The overall approach will be about exploring with participatory means what entanglement means in this place with workshops and walks and art forms such as movement/body; photography; sound; incorporated mapping, and text.

As a growing capital region, Copenhagen is the home of around 1 million human inhabitants – and around 400 different species of birds. Some of them are abundant in numbers, like the magpie or the ringed gull. Others are only passing through, and others again can be counted on two hands (like the sea eagle). Human ways of intertwining with our avian co-inhabitants are many, and emotions vary from fear and irritation, to awe and compassion. Several zones of the city are important for migrating bird species, but birds are never actually included in big scale planning. 

The Danish artists invited to participate are Nana Francisca Schottländer, dancer and choreographer, Alexandra Buhl, photographer, Laura Winge, co-designer and anthropologist, Maiken Bauer, sound artist, and performing group Becoming Species.

The Nest will be interrelated with the project NaTur i Byen (Nature in the city), a project that entails creating new spaces in Copenhagen where humans can interact with nature. 

The Nest is planned to be carried out in the late summer or early fall of 2022 and the finalised work will be produced in different formats that can be shown as part of the exhibition and online. The four artists will work in different areas of Copenhagen, such as Refshaleøen, Vestamager, Assistens Kirkegård, and a residential area (possibly Sluseholmen/Teglholmen. These are, as well as the overall concept, under consideration. 

This Nest is co-curated between Action-Philosopher Oleg Koefoed, manager of the organisation Growing Pathways, curator Rebekka Elisabeth Anker-Müller, bird expert Nikolaj Noel of the Danish Society of Ornithology at the University of Copenhagen LIFE sciences and the Danish Conservationist Society.

The Danish Nest explores the entanglement and encounters between humans and birds in the city. It is our hope that we, by looking at how humans and birds co-exist, can contribute to a reconsideration of the value of birds in the city and how a city might be designed to  better accommodate both human and avian needs. We focus on spaces, movements, and territories, how to increase sensitivity, and how to understand bird perceptions and patterns.

Participants in Urban human-avian entanglement

Oleg Koefoed (DK)

Researcher /

Oleg Koefoed (D) is a philosopher devoted to opening up the art of philosophy to the interwoven complexity of the world. The concept of Action-Philosophy is one of the cores of the agency Growing Pathways (that Koefoed founded with Kajsa Paludan in 2016).

This “nature relations agency” uses methods combining artistic approaches, philosophy and cultural mapping, with digital participation and network building. Through these tools, the agency assists partners and clients in intertwining strategy with biodiversity, spatial and ecology support actions. ( Koefoed is also engaged in research and writing, through action-research partnerships and through Copenhagen Business School.

Nana Francisca Schottländer (DK)


For the past 20 years Nana-Francisca has worked with hybrid formats in the intersection between dance, performance, installation and conceptual art. Her field of work is exploratory, often site-specific and always focusing on our bodies as tools, materials and organic interfaces and containers for experience and

For The Conference of the Birds Nana-Francisca will explore bird-human life in Anthropocene landscapes; construction sites, landfills and abandoned industrial sites.Besides their human agendas, these landscapes provide affordances for other-than-human life to unfold. How do birds inhabit these places, what could we envision for a more equal relationship between human and bird in these landscapes – and how could that shape the future development of these places? Drawing inspiration from the different steps described in the poem that lends its name to the project, and in synergy with some of the project’s other artists and the birds of the places, NFS will work body-based to establish new ways of creating, moving and meeting collaboratively. 

Alexandra Buhl (DK)

Photographer and video artist

With a background in cultural studies, Alexandra Buhl (DK) (b. 1976) started out as a photographer in London in 2001. Central to Buhl’s work is an intuitive search for meaning in everyday life, which she finds in moments of intense openness to her surroundings.

Buhl’s work is often intimate and diaristic, using a combination of documentary and constructed material – video, sound, photography and digital collage — to examine the cross-field of language and our embodied, physical meeting with the world around us. In the past twenty years Buhl has participated in a number of collective art projects and exhibitions in Denmark and abroad. Buhl created the award-winning book Hair Drawings in collaboration with Co’Libri Bookbindery, and the project Inseparable Together with composer Ellen Birgitte Rasmussen and performance artist Nana-Francisca Schottländer. At the moment she is working on the project Looking Glass Forest, as well as The Conference of The Birds. Alexandra Buhl will be using sound and video to examine our relationship with the common birds which coexist with us in the Danish cities and suburbs. Buhl is planning to work with the large flocks of jackdaws and crows gathering in the treetops around dusk in Copenhagen parks. Both the sounds and the sight of these great flocks repeatedly taking flight and settling down again is spectacular. Buhl intends to use the shadows and reflections made by the birds to examine our complex relationship with the world around us, the idea presented at the end of the poem The Conference of The Birds that once we see the light, we also see that “the shadow and its maker are one and the same, so get over surfaces and delve into mysteries.” 

Becoming Species (DK)

Performance and activist group

Becoming Species focuses on the survival of species and biodiversity by becoming even the same species and giving nature a voice, movement and expression. Our quest to become other species is not rooted in a romantic notion of the goodness of species and nature. It is a study of new perspectives and a critique of the structure and worldview that has created and escalated climate change.

Becoming Species consists of 9 members with backgrounds in natural therapy, yoga, activism, dance, teaching, cultural communication, philosophy, performance design, visual arts, literature, astrology.

Performance and activist group Becoming Species will create a performance / workshop on the Becoming Birds process. Each of the participants will turn into a bird. We do not yet know which birds we will become; we explore it in the process and let intuition guide us. We feel our intertwining with the birds. We examine needs, sounds and movements from the bird’s perspective. How does it feel to be a bird? Breaking out of an egg? Having a beak? Having feathers? To be able to fly over the country? How do birds communicate? What environment do they thrive in? How can we create a better environment for the birds? We would like to invite others to join a guided Becoming Birds workshop to experience the process. The performance consists of three parts: a meditation / inner perspective workshop; invitation to participate, and an open dialogue with the participants about their experience and new perspectives on entanglement between birds and humans [the bird-human species].

Nikolaj Noel Christensen (DK)

Educational Scientist

Nikolaj is educated in educational science with a specialisation in management, natural philosophy and Education for Sustainable Development (UBU).

His gaze is sharply focused on the space between nature policy and sustainability throughout society, including in relation to educational policy issues. His great interest in natural politics locally and nationally has resulted in a commitment to the Danish Ornithological Society regarding the political discussion on urban development in Copenhagen.A commitment that has also secured him a large and strong network across the green agenda. When Nikolaj does not participate in the nature policy and sustainable agenda, time passes mainly with life with birds and the dissemination of birds in many contexts.

Laura Winge (DK)


Laura Winge is a Design Anthropologist and PhD Fellow. She creates co-design processes for others and her own (dialogical) works.

Laura focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration and is particularly interested in using stories and other formats such as service travel and documentaries that convey insights and results so that they are useful for further work. She has solved site-specific artistic decorating tasks and exhibits.In an installation, Laura will reflect on the missing birds and the holes in the sky after them in dialogue with an ornithologist. It will primarily be an aesthetic practice that takes place in one of the ‘nature reserves’ in Copenhagen which are pressured from several sides. The mirror installation is followed by a design anthropological project on coexistence with city birds, e.g “The visitors”. Flocks of storks exposed in Sweden that will be part of the street scene in DK. Haraways Curious Practice / ‘polite visiting’ is examined in conjunction with a design anthropological documentation of coexistence with ‘wild’ birds in the city, urban species, bird’s eye view, bird houses, bird control, flocks of pigeons and carrier pigeons. Outcome can be action-packed dialogues that put birds and humans in connection with each other. A facilitation of connection-creating actions. What happens when we feed the birds we have hired humans to exterminate? The pigeons in the town hall square, the seagulls in the airport, the roosters roaring? Other dialogues …

Nikoline Jørgensen (DK)

Cultural Communicator

Nikoline is part of the performance collective Becoming Species. In this project, she is the repre-sentative of the group, ie a branch of the tree, or a fungal spore in the large mycelium network.

She is a cultural communicator with a dynamic approach to various creative and bodily practices and dissemination. Among other things, she has worked with dialogue-based teaching at the Statens Museum for Kunst, as a yoga teacher and as a researcher and organizer at DR. She is educated in Aesthetics and Culture and Media Studies and has several years of experience working with cross-aesthetic projects that weave together multisensory performances and storytelling.

Maiken Vibe Bauer (DK)


Maiken’s work ranges from audio installations, multichannel works and video to documentary forms such as audio essays and archives. She explores how places and their stories resonate; in memory through narratives and various materials such as manifestations and acoustic territories.

Sound is the primary medium, but she explores how our senses resonate with and on the environment, and how these rhythmic conditions negotiate place; as a constant occurrence – for example on the dammed Lammefjord.

Maiken will focus on Vestamager and the birds that live and stay on selected sites there. Habitats and (urban) landscape are unique, diverse, changeable. It contains rich biodiversity, history and volatility, as well as the opportunity for listening and creative dialogue. Like Lammefjorden, Vestamager is a dammed country, an anthropogenic and historical landscape. It characterizes the intergenerational relationships, whether they are intentional or just arising. Through site-specific field recordings, the significance of the anthropogenic landscape in relation to [bird man], for deeper auditory and territorial connections is investigated. A possible soundscape-based approach to the landscape as an ‘acoustic community’, a symbolic unit created by and within an acoustic space, can lead to processes (eg bird flute workshops) and works, eg a multi-channel work for the landscape and a site-specific sound walk with recordings and archive sound that weaves together with conversations with researchers and ornithologists about accompanying species, genera, anthropogenic landscapes, etc.s and storytelling.